Palestine and Free Speech: The University of Illinois’ Decision to Fire Prof. Steven Salaita on Behalf of the Israel Lobby | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Palestine and Free Speech: The University of Illinois’ Decision to Fire Prof. Steven Salaita on Behalf of the Israel Lobby

Steven Salaita is a renowned academic in the field of Native American Studies. That is why the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) hired him in 2013 as a tenured associate professor in the American Indian Studies Program. Salaita resigned from his previous position and had every reason to believe that he was on his way to Illinois. However he was terminated on August 1, 2014.

In the summer of 2014 Israel was in the midst of a murderous campaign in Gaza which killed more than 2,000 people, including 500 children. Steven Salaita is a Palestinian-American and like millions of people he vented anger and outrage as the horrific war crime continued. His posts on twitter garnered the attention of the administration and donors at the University of Illinois and he was fired before he even began working.

From the beginning Salaita waged a courageous fight to prove that he was in fact already an employee and to see that the university paid a price for mocking academic freedom, ruining his career and upending his personal life. He has succeeded in some of those efforts. The university experienced nearly universal condemnation and was censured by the American Association of University Professors for violating the principles of academic freedom. In addition, prominent persons such as Cornel West are boycotting the University of Illinois and have cancelled appearances in support of Salaita’s struggle.

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